los angeles documentary family photography life events adoption
Life Events

An Adoption Celebration | The Avis Family

The day seemed so ordinary, blue skies and sunshine, birds singing and traffic on the freeways. This is Los Angeles after all. Yet, in an unassuming house at the center of a cul-de-sac, a family was preparing for a momentous event. Hair was being combed, dresses were being donned, and childhood shenanigans were occurring in the living room. Anticipation permeated the air as the family piled into the van and headed to the courthouse. One little boy smiled all the way along. Somehow I think he knew the day was a big deal in his little life. A day like no other, adoption day!

Surrounded by a multitude of witnesses, family and friends, August officially became an Avis. This moment, almost two years in the making, was beautifully felt by everyone who squeezed into a courtroom more use to tragedy than hope. The judge smiled as she legally declared a child part of a forever family and parents cheered the victory that legal adoption represents. Tears of joy filled more than one set of eyes.

The rest of the day was a true celebration of how God places the orphan in families. Of how he uses ordinary couples to make known the extraordinary joy of children with special needs. Of how family is a treasure he weaves together.

Sometimes I simply stand in awe of how God uses something as simple as social media to connect you with people you just know you were meant to be along the journey with. The Avis family is a family I cannot say enough about. Thank you Heather, Josh, Macy, Truly and August for allowing me to be a small part of your journey and for encouraging my own heart around the desire to love a child through adoption. I cannot wait to see all that God accomplishes through you. So much love for you all…xo – Erin


The day began at their home as final touches were put on everyone. I loved all the beautiful touches Heather put on her home and enjoyed looking at each lovely piece through the eyes of her girls.


Then we piled in the van and headed towards the courthouse. One upside to crazy LA traffic is all the beautiful moments it allowed for in the car. It is so easy to see that Heather and Josh adore their little ones and that the kids are just as crazy about them.


We headed up the stairs of the courthouse and I was overwhelmed with the size of the building. It breaks my heart that there is a need for a children’s court this large. I was so glad we were there for happiness today. I also love how the personalities of kids come out in something as simple as climbing stairs. Truly charged ahead while Macy sat waiting for us and August had to prove his toddler prowess on the steps.


Waiting is a true part of the adoption process and adoption days are no different, lots of waiting and courthouse exploring. Thankfully, it gave time for family and friends to gather. All 37 of them, new record for the courthouse!


Finally we gathered in the judge’s chambers. Teddy bears were handed to each child present. Vows were made to love and care for August. Papers were signed. A gavel fell declaring adoption was official. Everyone cheered.


After the ceremony we caravanned back to the house to celebrate. As I got to know their friends better I was in awe of how this family’s adoption story has created ripples of influence among their circle. Several families have adopted little ones, including other children with Down’s syndrome. It was truly a beautiful thing to document.


Toasts were said, thank you expressed and the cake cut. August wasn’t impressed with the cake, preferring to spread his wings and crawl.


Heather uses the phrase “The Lucky Few” to express what being a parent to those with Down’s syndrome is like. After witnessing this day I see so much of what she means and know August is just as lucky to have them all. There were so many beautiful moments among this day. If you are interested in adoption, children with Down’s syndrome or what it means to be among “The Lucky Few” I highly encourage you to follow the adventures of the Avis family @MacyMakesMyDay on Instagram.

P.S. did you notice the cool “Different Is the New Normal” shirt grandpa was wearing? It is from the amazing team at The Littlest Warrior (@thelittlestwarrior on Instagram). They have amazing designs all celebrating the differences among us and I just love what they stand for.